The Women ReBOOT programme, an initiative of Technology Ireland DIGITAL Skillnet, is celebrating helping over 200 female returners find permanent positions in the Information & Computer Technology (ICT) sector since it began in 2016.
Technology Ireland DIGITAL Skillnet is now calling for applications for its next Women ReBOOT programme which commences in September 2021 and is free of charge to qualifying participants and companies.
A survey of the ReBOOT programme participants revealed that, despite being active in their job search (23% applying for more than 20 roles), female returners have still been unsuccessful through normal recruitment channels.
63% report hardly ever or never receiving feedback to their job applications with a further 51% stating they had personally experienced bias in the recruitment sector.
29% believe the biggest barrier to returning to the workforce is ‘finding opportunities’, followed by ‘personal confidence’ at 22%. Encouragingly, 80% feel that the returner programmes have helped them permanently return to the workforce.
Industry and government-supported, the Women ReBOOT programme provides high-calibre, agile training thus ensuring that female returners with previous ICT skills can develop the necessary technical and professional competencies.
The programme, fully funded by Technology Ireland DIGITAL Skillnet, involves an intensive 4-week training module, focusing on Critical Thinking, Learning Mindset, Cloud and Database Essentials, Innovation Business Modelling, Confidence and Resilience Building, in addition to 4 one-to-one coaching sessions.
The training module is followed by a 12-week work placement with one of the 40+ large technical companies that have partnered with Technology Ireland DIGITAL Skillnet (e.g. Dell, Accenture, Citibank, McAfee, Mastercard, Ultan Technologies, Flipdish and Microsoft.)
Despite Covid 19, The Women ReBOOT Programme is seeing unprecedented demand from companies of all sizes to avail of this supported framework to address their talent and diversity challenges. These companies provide the necessary support for the women to flourish and up-skill within the organisation and fulfil their career potential which was temporarily paused.
Claire Chung, CIO Citibank Europe PLC commented:
“I don’t understand why it’s so difficult for women to come back into the workforce after only a two-year career break, in some cases. It baffles me. We take graduates all the time with no experience, yet people with so much experience find it difficult to come back in. Citi has taken six candidates from the Women ReBOOT programme, and are passionate about continuing to support it.”
Gervaise Landy, Senior Engineer and Women ReBOOT participant commented:
“I became more responsible, self-sufficient and resilient as a result of running my own business and raising my family. Maturity, empathy and life experience all helped me to be a better employee. Most employers state they support a diverse workforce. If they explicitly listed returners as one of the groups they are open to, it would encourage more to apply. The ReBOOT programme was hugely beneficial to me and I would highly recommend it to any women preparing to return following a career break.”
Kathryn Cullen, Programme Director, Technology Ireland DIGITAL Skillnet commented:
“Women take career breaks for a variety of reasons, including maternity or caring responsibilities, health or simply by choice. We’re delighted that Women ReBOOT has helped so many returners to overcome the barriers to re-entry and also enabling the ICT sector to connect with this untapped pool of talent. It’s particularly encouraging to see that many of the alumni have fast-tracked their careers after returning and have been promoted many times. We’re excited to welcome a new group of participants to the programme in September.”
Candidates with previous IT experience and/or qualifications who have been out of the workforce for a minimum of two years can apply for the Women ReBOOT programme online at https://www.digitalskillnet.ie/women-reboot/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The closing date for application is 18 August 2021. Companies interested in participating in future programmes, in either a coaching or work placement capacity, can also contact Kathryn Cullen at Kathryn.email@example.com.
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